David Bates

(6 March 1809 – 25 January 1870 / Indian Hill / Ohio)

Childhood


Childhood, sweet and sunny childhood,
With its careless, thoughtless air,
Like the verdant, tangled wildwood,
Wants the training hand of care.

See it springing all around us --
Glad to know, and quick to learn;
Asking questions that confound us;
Teaching lessons in its turn.

Who loves not its joyous revel,
Leaping lightly on the lawn,
Up the knoll, along the level,
Free and graceful as a fawn?

Let it revel; it is nature
Giving to the little dears
Strength of limb, and healthful features,
For the toil of coming years.

He who checks a child with terror,
Stops its play, and stills its song,
Not alone commits an error,
But a great and moral wrong.

Give it play, and never fear it --
Active life is no defect;
Never, never break its spirit --
Curb it only to direct.

Would you dam the flowing river,
Thinking it would cease to flow?
Onward it must go forever --
Better teach it where to go.

Childhood is a fountain welling,
Trace its channel in the sand,
And its currents, spreading, swelling,
Will revive the withered land.

Childhood is the vernal season;
Trim and train the tender shoot;
Love is to the coming reason,
As the blossom to the fruit.

Tender twigs are bent and folded --
Art to nature beauty lends;
Childhood easily is moulded;
Manhood breaks, but seldom bends.

Submitted: Tuesday, May 08, 2001

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Comments about this poem (Childhood by David Bates )

  • Rookie - 711 Points Michelle Claus (3/24/2014 6:06:00 PM)

    Witnessing a scene in which a child's benign free spirit is clipped, it breaks my heart. I agree with the sentiment of this poem, give a child safe parameters within which to be free and creative. The form of the poem is okay.... Thank you. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 11,841 Points Ramesh Rai (3/24/2014 12:31:00 PM)

    Childhood is a fountain welling,
    Trace its channel in the sand,
    And its currents, spreading,
    swelling,
    Will revive the withered land. (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 2,054 Points Francis Lynch (3/24/2014 12:14:00 PM)

    So many future adolescent problems could be avoided with this poem's advice. Some lines could use revision. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 605 Points Shahzia Batool (3/24/2014 11:36:00 AM)

    He who checks a child with terror,
    Stops its play, and stills its song,
    Not alone commits an error,
    But a great and moral wrong.

    all true and tender! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 1,112 Points Paul Reed (3/24/2014 6:10:00 AM)

    Childhood... will revive the withered land. Wonderful wisdom often forgotten (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 20 Points Mary Pagdati (3/24/2012 10:48:00 AM)

    This is truly a superb poem - it touched my heart and I enjoyed it immensly. The beauty of a child's innocence is so magnificent. It's no wonder God urges us to live in that degree of innocence. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Biplab Chowdhury (3/24/2012 8:28:00 AM)

    Simple poem, vivid and full of the joy of innocence. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 158 Points Queeny Gona (3/24/2012 7:35:00 AM)

    Well penned, simply superb.
    Voted 10+++++++ (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 7 Points Udiah Witness to YAH (3/24/2012 5:10:00 AM)

    Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. LK18: 16 (also found in Mat 19: 14, Mk 10: 14) The innocence of a child is what the Lord loves. Today we are so quick in robbing them of that innocence. Just our society itself dictates we must, for their safety alone. It's such a shame. The Lord blessed me to live far enough out of the main stream that my children were able to live their first few years somewhat like my childhood, but alas, they never enjoyed the many free years as I did, they were forced to grow up too fast. Beautiful poem, like a child simple and carefree, while making us think maybe we should allow the child to determine the when as to the time they mature. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 10,905 Points Soulful Heart (3/24/2012 12:56:00 AM)

    congrats for 'poem of the day'...................great poem full of innocence captured of childhood..............Tender twigs are bent and folded -
    Art to nature beauty lends;
    Childhood easily is moulded; ............................indeed true :) (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 516 Points Juan Olivarez (3/24/2011 8:38:00 AM)

    Wonderful rhyming scheme, truer words were never spoken, a poem of prophetic wisdom. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 312 Points Indira Renganathan (3/24/2010 11:43:00 PM)

    Just interesting to read...times have changed...parents are confused much by social and environmental factors these days...they have to go by the trend of life though unwilling... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Tammy L Easterly (3/24/2010 10:27:00 PM)

    Well written..... Take a look at Why me- My request, (there was no Childhood...in this poem) ..Thanks (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sarah Loves (3/24/2010 10:49:00 AM)

    Either live and get over your incest memories or commit suicide. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 26 Points Joseph Poewhit (3/24/2010 5:34:00 AM)

    'He who checks a child with terror ' - in this era that line stands out with kiddie porn, drugs, false image beliefs. The kitchen with Mom became BIG BROTHER TV. with it's? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? . Kids left unchecked by the break down of the family structure. MATT: 24 - 19 - Woe to them that are with child and give suck in those days. [prayer time] (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Eithne Queen of Celts (3/24/2010 3:54:00 AM)

    Jolly and refreshing, great to start your day. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 508 Points Ramesh T A (3/24/2010 2:15:00 AM)

    Better way of fostering the child is well expressed with examples in this poem! Nice to read! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kevin Straw (3/24/2009 6:37:00 AM)

    Good wisdom, average poetry. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Artem Savelyev (5/7/2007 6:43:00 PM)

    Hello, David! My name is Artem. I am the main editor of russian internet-magazine 'Feather of linguist' (Pero lingvista) The theme of the second release of our magazine is CHILDHOOD and so I offer you to take part in it! Please, contact me as soon as possible! Email to lingua@ccua.ru (or if your mail-agent doesn't let you write to another country, email the copy of your letter to info@moscowstudents.com) (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Archie Langford (3/24/2007 1:46:00 AM)

    Pure poetry what pleasure it brings (Report) Reply

Read all 22 comments »

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